Suspicions Arise After New York City Fire Department Arrives at 36th Street Residence Hall

By: Sarah Brill  |  March 4, 2020

By Sarah Brill

On March 3, two trucks from the New York City Fire Department appeared outside the door of the 36th Street Residence Hall on the Beren Campus. The firemen stood next to a female bystander, both of whom were pointing and looking at the top of the 36th Street dorm. Unaware of what was going on at the time, many Stern students were still filtering through the stairwells. 

At approximately 7:35 pm, the fire manager came on the intercom and told all of the women to stay in their rooms. At 7:40 came another announcement, again reminding the women of 36th Street to stay in their rooms without further information. According to a student who was in their backyard-facing room at the time, firemen looked through the bushes and at the fence. They appeared to be looking up at the neighboring buildings, in the gap between 36th and 37th street. 

At 7:50 pm, YU security personnel came on the intercom and told the residents that all was clear and students may leave their rooms again. A group of second floor residents went downstairs to consult with security about this incident. Chana Weinberg, SCW ‘20, a resident of 36th Street Residence Hall, commented that “it was a pretty jarring moment, hearing the alarm and seeing the firefighters, but it was all over pretty quickly.” Shifra Lindenberg, SCW ’21, another resident, told the YU Observer “I had no idea what was going on. While I understand why security can’t say what’s going on while the event is happening, I believe that we should still know what’s happening on our campus especially […] it’s our school, we have a right to know.”

One anonymous student questioned this, saying that “if there was smoke, why were we not informed to go outside? Why would they want us to stay put in a building that might be at risk of a fire?” These questions have still not been answered and students are currently wondering if there was an intruder on the roof of 36th Street Residence Hall, its neighboring buildings, or in the backyard area. 

This comes months after the Schottenstein Residence Hall break-in, which occurred on December 20, 2019. During that incident, a man entered the building and set three fires. At that time, information was not provided to the students of Stern College for Women through the mainstream email chains or text messages, but rather through the New York Post and CNN. Questions regarding this incident at 36th Street remain unaddressed and residents are looking to security to give the whole story and answer unanswered questions.